Getting ready for you first trade show, but don’t know where to start?
The first thing you’ll want to do is hold a brainstorming session to create a marketing plan outline to determine several key items. This will include things like what is the purpose of the trade show, who are your target audience and target exhibitors, and where would you like to have your trade show.
Even these few basic things will give you the foundation to begin building a successful trade show.
But, once you have that foundation, where do you go? Let us show you.
It Takes About 12 Months to Prepare
This catches most first-timers off-guard. Planning a successful trade show booth begins about a full year before the event. There are lots of things that need preparation, design, and fabrication.
You need to arrange accommodation.
You need to arrange transportation, for both yourself and your booth elements.
You need time to design, test, and manufacture advertising material.
You need time to ensure your team is trained and ready to meet the needs of a trade show (see below).
Do Your Research
Who goes to these events? What do they normally expect? Will you be able to network with other businesses, or will you be competing against a slew of competitors? Find all of this out beforehand to give yourself a competitive edge whatever the situation.
Have a look at trade show directories, the local chamber of commerce, and business groups. Your research will help you decide the theme and type of event that you want to have.
Also, use social media and online advertisements to make people aware of your presence at the show. The show itself will do plenty of advertising for you — but taking the initiative and putting yourself out there yourself will give you a competitive edge.
Get Sales Agents
You cannot just rely on leads to wander into your booth. Try to get one or two sales agents mingling in the crowd. Make sure they have a tablet on them to grab leads throughout the trade show. Tablets also give them the ability to have marketing and promotional material on them without being obvious.
Your marketing and display items will play a huge role in your success during your first trade show. Promotional work must be eye-catching and easily visible. Consider using video displays to captivate and inform audiences as they walk past.
Make Sure Your Team is Ready
A trade show is a live, high-paced environment. Your team will be faced with many inquiries from a range of people — those who know nothing about your products or services, to those who might even have more experience than you. Whatever the case, your team needs to be well equipped to answer any question confidently and persuasively, and especially needs to be trained in the art of converting leads into sales where possible.